Arcades are dead? Yeah right……if that were the case I don’t think we would keep seeing all of the neat new arcade products that seem to keep coming out these days for the home enthusiast.
The latest product for the home arcade scene is the 4/8 adjustable joystick from Rollie Electronics (or you may know him as Ponyboy of BYOAC “fame”). Using a neat little restrictor plate you can quickly change this stick from 4 to 8 way….and it also has another trick up its sleeve that I’ll reveal later on.
For only $10.95 you can pick up the stick that’s obviously modeled after the Japanese Sanwa’s that is “all the rage” in Japan.
How does it stack up to compared to some of Kevin’s reviewed sticks in the Joystick round up?....let’s see--
What do you get?
For $10.95 you get the joystick itself, a wiring harness and your choice of a color ball top including Pink, Orange, Clear and Green. Purple & Blue are coming soon). Additional tops cost or extra harnesses are $3.50 each.
You also get a dust cover and shaft cover. The shaft cover is ONLY available in Yellow.
If you have never installed a Sanwa joystick you’re going to love this one from Rollie. The stick is micro switched based and it’s all pre-wired up to a nice compact circuit board and wiring harness that’s removable……so no crimping and cutting of wires will be necessary to hook this up.
I took mine apart (easy to do) to trace the wires of the harness to their micro switches identifying the up, down, left and right of the stick making set up super easy. For my testing purposes I used a USB Ipac and wiring was painless and fast as all I had to do was strip the wires and screw them down to my Ipac.
If you have never used a Japanese stick, they are really small and compact as compared to bigger sticks made in the U.S. like a Happ Competition (or similar) and are great in instances where you have a very shallow depth like in a bartop or if you’re building a laptop controller.
The stick itself is pretty standing using an Eclip at the bottom, but you really don’t need to remove the shaft as the ball top unscrews easily.
These sticks have a very soft throw. You don’t have to apply a lot of pressure to get it to register your movement. These types of sticks are very popular in Japan and I can only assume it’s because of the number of fighting games there.
You can toss this stick around for quite a while and not get fatigued in a fast game of Tekken or similar game.
Personally I prefer the stiffer feel of a Happ or similar stick. But I do like this stick.
4-way, 8-way, and a bonus!
The bottom of the stick features a unique little piece of plastic that has numerous holes drilled into it. Depending on how you place the piece at the bottom of the stick you can get 4 way, 8 way or as an undocumented BONUS….. 2 way!
If you wish to use the stick in 8 way, I feel you can simply just leave the restrictor plate off….as the throw to me doesn’t feel different with the plate during 8 way use.
4 and 2 way is where the stick shines. The 4 way restriction really feels great. I have a Happ Reunion 4 way and I think this stick feels better as the movement is better defined (more on that latter) than the Happ 4 way.
When testing the stick I discovered that if you placed the restrictor in the middle you get perfect 2 way movement. While I realize that 2 way games are limited its really perfect for Galaxian/Galaga, Space Invaders, Defender ok, you get it. I've never see a cheap 2 way stick so if you're looking for one on a custom panel I think this may be your answer.
Well it is micro switched based so it’s noisy. Is it louder than other sticks? In general I think it’s comparable to Kevin’s feelings on the XArcade’s “pinging” sounds that those sticks make. I don’t feel it’s a problem and most likely when fully mounted into a panel you’re most likely never going to even hear the sound.
These sticks have a shorter shaft that most U.S. sticks and may turn some folks off if you’re not familiar with Japanese style sticks. I like this stick, but I’m not a big fan of Japanese ball top sticks in general personally.
It’s a well made stick at a good price. The color choices for the ball tops are limited to translucent colors which may be limiting to some. I did discover that a standard Sanwa top fits just fine onto the shaft so you can always use one of those if you wish as they come in all sort of different colors to choose from.
The only other cosmetic issue is the yellow shaft cover which I’m not a big fan of, but I’m guessing you can just paint it or remove it if necessary.
Bottom line…..for $10.95 and the ability to switch
from 2, 4 to 8 way you can’t go wrong if you need a stick like this
one. To pick one up, just send John and email over at:
About The Author
Mitch Gerson, 38 years old, resides in Manhattan with his wife of 5 years. He discovered the magic of MAME™ around November of 2002. Three years and two complete arcade cabinets (one stand up and one cocktail, both built by the author) later he’s still going strong coming up with various custom peripherals for his arcade cabs with no end in sight. His, home arcade has now expanded into Pachislo machines and including Metal Slug, Jet Set Radio and Tekken as his favorite new toys. The latest acquisition? – a Sonic the Hedgehog Pachinko.
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